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The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group of the Bloor/Spadina United Churches (Bathurst Street, Bloor Street and TSP) aims to:
  • engage the three congregations in education, advocacy and solidarity in relation to Indigenous justice and right relations
  • respond to requests for solidarity from Indigenous communities
  • find opportunities to build relationships between congregational members and Indigenous peoples

Past Activities

The history of the “Indian Residential Schools“, including the part played by the United Church in running the schools, has been the focus of many educational events in recent years. These schools resulted in a painful legacy in many Indigenous communities.

For a period of several years, members of Trinity-St. Paul’s and two other United Churches participated in a Healing Circle group with Indigenous representatives from the Toronto Urban Native Ministry and Council Fire, a native social services agency. A larger healing gathering in the fall of 2003 was a further step in a process of healing, learning and reconciliation.

Another educational focus has been the history and current status of First Nations land rights. We participated in advocacy for the establishment of an independent Land Rights Tribunal. In May 2008 we joined in solidarity with First Nations from northwestern Ontario during the Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors at Queen’s Park.This gathering was organized to demand that the province respect the rights of First Nations in land use decisions, and in particuar the need for consent when industrial development threatens the exercise of  traditional activities and in major negotiations.

Letter of Solidarity to Chief Theresa Spence

Chief Theresa Spence

Attawapiskat First Nation

 

Dear Chief Spence,
 

We at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church are holding you and all First Nations peoples in our thoughts and prayers this Christmas. Your courage and determination to bring the longstanding grievances of your people to the attention of all Canadians have unleashed a wave of hope that is rolling across the land. Your quiet refusal to be ignored by the powers that be has struck a chord especially among First Nations youth and women who are Idle No More.
 

Your actions speak to the hearts of all justice loving people. In our community of faith today we are reflecting on the voice of one from the margins of society who boldly spoke truth to power, announcing a vision of justice that “fills the hungry with good things.” Your hunger for good things for your people comes from the heart of the Creator, and inspires us to action.
 

The birth pangs of this hope are fraught with danger, and we pray for your safety. May the Creator guide you on a good path that will bring blessings to many.  We offer the support of our community, and will add our voices to the ever growing demand that Prime Minister Harper meet with you and your leaders to show, on behalf of all Canadians, respect for First Nations and a willingness to negotiate in good faith. We are calling on people of goodwill everywhere to show their support for you. Let justice roll down like a river that is unstoppable.

The Campaign to Erode Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

“For almost 15 years, the federal Department of Justice has conducted a campaign to erode the constitutional and legal status of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada.”

The Campaign to Erode Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

 

The United Church of Canada is committed to seeking right relationships with Indigenous Peoples and to supporting First Nations in their struggle for self-government and Indigenous rights

http://www.united-church.ca/social-action/justice-initiatives/reconciliation-and-indigenous-justice

 

KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, a church-based social justice movement supported by the United Church of Canada, has a focus on Aboriginal rights.

http://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights

 

 
On 16 May 2010, Dehcho Grand Chief Sam Gargan from Fort Providence, NWT spoke at TSP.  His address was entitled “United in Hope: 500 Nations.” A recording of Chief Gargan’s address is contained below:

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